Dizziness is a general term that can be used to describe feeling off balance, unsteady, lightheaded, or spinning. There are many different causes of dizziness. These include heart problems, high or low blood pressure, stroke, metabolic disorders, dehydration, medications, anxiety, brain injury, or infection.
The inner ear is involved with hearing and balance. If something is off with the balance center in the inner ear, there is a misfiring with the messages that inform your brain about your position and orientation in space. This can result in a sensation that either you are spinning or the room is spinning around you. This is called vertigo. Other symptoms such as ear pressure/pain, ringing in the ears, headache, nausea, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and motion sickness can accompany the dizziness.
There are many types of dizziness that are caused by inner ear diseases. Some of these include:
- Benign positional vertigo- BPPV occurs when tiny calcium crystals in the inner ear become dislodged and cause sudden short spurts of dizziness, usually after changes in head position. It can last from days to months.
- Meniere’s disease- This is characterized by long periods of dizziness along with symptoms such as ringing in the ear, hearing loss, and ear fullness or pressure.
- Migraine- Vestibular migraines can cause imbalance and/or vertigo. It may or may not occur in conjunction with a typical migraine headache.
- Vestibular neuronitis- Dizziness can occur if there is inflammation in the inner ear due to an infection.
- Acoustic neuroma- This is a growth on the hearing nerve which causes symptoms such as singled sided hearing loss, ringing in the ear, and dizziness.
If you are experiencing any form of repetitive or chronic dizziness, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with our otolaryngologists.